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  2. Cooperative El Brot, more than three decades by fostering "critical" consumption of food   (04/07/2011)

This news article was originally written in Spanish. It has been automatically translated for your convenience. Reasonable efforts have been made to provide an accurate translation, however, no automated translation is perfect nor is it intended to replace a human translator. The original article in Spanish can be viewed at Cooperativa El Brot, más de tres décadas fomentando el consumo “crítico” de alimentos
In Reus (Tarragona) was founded, 32 years ago, the first cooperative bio-ecological in the country

Cooperative El Brot, more than three decades by fostering "critical" consumption of food

July 4, 2011

32 Years ago, but you are not legally formalized until 1987, began its journey the first agroecological cooperative in the country. At the urging of several residents of the municipality of Reus, concerned about the proximity of the petrochemical Tarragona and the Vandellòs nuclear power plant, was born the cooperative the Brot. According to Carme Pagès, President of the same, despite the general lack of knowledge on Agroecology, was a natural result of the need to consume fresh, healthy food in the area. Hand in hand with its President, Interempresas has visited the headquarters of this cooperative pioneer where is driving for more than three decades, the "critical" consumption of food, devoid of unnecessary packaging and chemical treatments.
Anna León
foto
Carme Pagès, President of the cooperative the Brot, at the registered office of the same in Reus.

Nowadays, terms like agroecology seem us of the most usual. Three decades backwards, the possibility to set up a cooperative that boosted sustainable agriculture sustained by the own community, could baffle to more than one/to. However, in the case of the Cooperative The Brot, with headquarters in Reus (Tarragona), the things were simpler of what at first sight could seem. Like this it explains it to us Carme Pagès, president of the same: “In a principle, there was worry by the existence and vicinity of the petrochemical of Tarragona and the nuclear head office of Vandellós. To the need to consume healthy foods and frescos of the zone, basically of Reus and of the Camp of Tarragona, began to think in how optimise transports, in doing circulate information on possible producers and providers, began to organise informative talks on agroecology…And like this, with the help of people of confidence, a thing carried to the another...”. In 1987, The Brot formalised like cooperative, to legal level, although his origins trace back to the year 1979. The way that initiated this cooperative, the first of this type in Spain, followed it other organisations of people consumers of ecological products, like The Rebost SCCL (Gironinginga) and Germinal SCCL (Barcelona). Since, the production, distribution and consumption of products of crop agroecológico has purchased greater proportions, even in the zone of influence of The Brot. “At present, in the central market of Reus there are two stops where sell foods bioecológicos. It does not like us speak of competition. What interests us is that this consumption extend and spread and, of course, contribute to keep the vicinity of the territory facilitating the access to local products”, explains Carme Pagès.

"We do not like to talk of competition." "What interests us is that this consumption spread and disseminated and, of course, contribute to maintaining the proximity of the territory by facilitating access to local products"
foto
Interior of the House where preserved fruit and vegetables in season, with the output box. Customers can access the same and choose foods that prefer themselves.

Nearly 100 square meters where you put the "critical" food consumption value

To measure that advance by the corridors of the Cooperative, his president, Carme Pagès, us desgrana the keys of a project in which it involves beside other mates, of voluntary form, and that paginates with other occupations. “I would say that the strong point of The Brot keep on being the products of feeding, those of daily consumption. In these moments, so much our partners, more than a hundred in the actuality, as any customer that go through our establishment, although to a more economic price for the first, can choose between articles very diverse, like footwear, cosmetic or cleaning of the home”. In this regard, it calls the attention the commercialisation of ecological detergents and even foods like flour or legumes to granel, or the garrafas of oil of extra virgin olive arbequina of big format. “At the beginning, we sold mainly vegetable, fruit and vegetable of quality ecobiológica, that now renew twice by week. In these moments, the foods that sell to granel (cereals, rice, flour) are those that more exit have between our customers”.

In his 96 m2, the Cooperative The Brot commercialises from cool products (fruit, vegetables, vegetables, eggs and dairy), stored in display units refrigerated or in a specific camera for commodity hortofrutícola, to dry products (tubers, legumes, cereals, dry and drunk fruit) and, finally, a wide range of elaborated that includes juices, oils, preserves, jams, chocolate, coffee, infusions, cheeses, precooked products, pasta of soup, biscuits, flour and bread. “It does a year and half, request some credits valued in 100.000 euros to do several reforms in the venue. We install the two cameras with which explain in the actuality, one to conserve flours, legumes and products to granel and the another, for fruit and vegetables. Of the total of the budget, invest 70.000 in both cameras”.

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On the left, a linear with some of the products in bulk that are marketed with the brand of the cooperative the Brot. On the right, a linear with several vegetables arranged inside the camera for its conservation.
"We are going beyond offering products without herbicides." We are looking for are nearby. "And also that there should be as few middlemen as possible, so that everyone receives a fair price for what that produces"

With its activity, since the Brot support selective development of organic farming, without GMOs, facilitating the conversion to this type of production and closer collaboration between producers and consumers, preferably of the Camp de Tarragona and Reus season productions. A purpose that strengthens the cohesion and food sovereignty in its scope. Yet they also resort to suppliers of the rest of Catalonia and even some parts of the country. But their mission does not end here. In the words of Carme Pagès, from the cooperative urges "critical" food consumption: "Beyond will offer products without herbicides, a zero pollution." We are looking for are nearby. It cannot be that you cost us more lettuce the transport itself. I.e., how much more local it chain better. And also that there should be as few middlemen as possible, so that everyone receives a fair price for what that produces. "Finally, we find the example and sell a varied range of products in bulk, with minimum packaging and in line with our philosophy."

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In the photo, one of the corridors of the establishment which stands out to the Fund, a kind of obrador and a refrigerator exhibitor.

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